Making the choice to be a software developer can be a daunting decision and the industry comes with a whole bunch of stereotypes and stigmas. From having to be a math whizz to needing a degree to go anywhere with your career. Today I want to try and dissolve some of the expectations you might have when trying to get into the industry. It was a rough journey for me but it isn’t as hard as you may think, so here are some of the expectations I had about working in tech and also some of the realities I have faced on my journey.
You need to be a math whizz to be a developer
When I first decided to become a developer I was working as a carpenter and I was never the best math student back in high school so I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to work in tech because I didn’t have a strong technical or mathematics background. This is the main reason a lot of people turn away from a career in software engineering or really most tech-related jobs. Mathematics is for sure a key part when it comes to being proficient as a developer but it isn’t something you need to be worried about. After a while I found being a developer is just like being a builder, there are simple equations you need every now and then but for the most part, you are looking at a problem and using the tools you have available to you to fix that problem. If you require math knowledge for a specific problem you are facing all you need to do is look through your tool belt for an internet browser and you will find your solution.
University is key to building a “successful” career in tech
Now this one is a struggle until you get into the industry and face the reality that nobody cares if you have a degree or not, or at least the people you want to work for don’t. I believe this expectation comes from years gone by when the only real way to become a developer was to go to university, this was mainly due to the lack of other educational material to teach yourself or commit to a boot camp. I was really worried after I finished my boot camp that I wouldn’t be able to progress further in my career without a degree. When I looked at job posts for big corporate companies I saw their senior jobs required degrees in computer science or something similar. But after working in the industry I came to know quite a few high up developers that either didn’t have a degree of their own or wouldn’t care if you didn’t have one. If you learn how to use the tools at your disposal and have a desire to go far, you will have a career that is just as successful as the person next to you with a bachelor of software engineering.
You don’t need soft skills to be a developer
Soft skills are almost more important than technical ability in the minds of most employers. My expectation going into tech was that everyone was a quiet introvert that sat in their office hacking away and not talking to anyone other than in a meeting room. That thought was kinda terrifying to me until I read an article about breaking down the stereotypes around tech related office culture. But during my time at Coder Academy the importance of people skills was embraced and I found myself less worried about not fitting the developer stereotype of a hacking hermit. I found out the power of soft skills when I landed my first job as a developer before I graduated, knowing little technically, but I was able to articulate my desire to learn as a part of a team. Never underestimate the power of being able to talk to people and connect with your team.
Anyway guys that was a post all about the realities of the tech industry compared to some of the common expectations I have heard and experienced. I hope you all enjoyed, feel free to check out any of my other blog posts and leave a comment on things you liked or didn’t like about this one!